The Met Office has hired Prof Penelope Endersby as its new chief executive, seven months after the resignation of Rob Varley.
Varley stepped down with immediate effect in March amid reports that the move had followed the intervention of Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy perm sec Alex Chisholm against a backdrop of concerns about “governance and management controls” at the executive agency.
Endersby, who currently works at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, will be the national weather service’s first female chief executive when she takes up her post in December. Interim chief executive Nick Jobling will revert to his previous post as chief finance officer.
The Met Office said Endersby had wide-ranging experience with high performance computing, complex modelling and simulation, space systems and weather, geospatial intelligence and analytics, and – ultimately – delivering life-saving science for defence and security users.
At Dstl she has led the Cyber and Information Systems Division and been acting chief technical officer, as well as a non-executive director of Ploughshare Innovations, the Ministry of Defence’s technology transfer organisation.
Met Office chair Rob Woodward said he was “delighted” Endersby would be at the helm of the organisation as it continued to embrace new technologies and developments in science to stay at the forefront of weather and climate science.
“I and the rest of the board are very much looking forward to working with her as we build on the outstanding reputation of the Met Office and continue the important transformation which will enable the Met Office to remain a world class organisation,” he said.
Endersby said she had “long admired” the Met Office and believed that delivering world-class science for weather and climate-prediction was more critical to wellbeing now than ever before.
“Throughout my career my leadership ethos centres on creating the conditions wherein scientists and scientific excellence can thrive, while maintaining a keen focus on business delivery to customers,” she said.
“I look forward immensely to working with such a talented workforce.”
The Met Office chief exec job was advertised with a salary range of £88,000-£162,500 in the summer. Varley’s salary band was £120,000-£125,000 according to the agency's most recent annual report.